Feature book: Currawong Creek
The very organised and focused life Clare Mitchell leads as a Brisbane lawyer is thrown into disarray when she agrees to become temporary guardian of a young boy with behavioural problems. She’s still making major adjustments to her lifestyle, having taken in her deceased father’s half-grown German Shepherd. Now her very neat and predictable life is out of control. As she careers from one domestic disaster to the next, a coolabah tree outside her work triggers daydreams of her idyllic childhood holidays on her grandparents’ farm out west at Currawong Creek. It’s been fifteen years since she was there, but is it just her imagination, or could it offer the peace and sanctuary she, Jack and one growing dog need? As she becomes more and more attached to her young charge, she also becomes convinced that he needs something beyond her unsuitable city unit and the day care that is the scene of daily catastrophes. With her work ethic suffering, Clare decides to contact the grandfather she has not seen in fifteen years.
From the first moment, local vet, Tom is drawn to Clare. His handy vantage point on her grandfather’s farm allows Tom the opportunity to lend support and some constructive help to Jack. As Clare settles in to life so far from the big city, Tom hopes they can find a way to settle into a long life together.
I loved this book. The impetus for the story and Clare’s decision to head back to a place she loved is Jack, who has been diagnosed as autistic. His mother is struggling to overcome her drug addiction and free herself from a violent domestic situation. Jack has severe behavioural issues and cannot communicate through normal speech, taking his frustrations out in violent ways. With very few choices available to Jack because of his behaviour, Clare offers to care for him, rather than see him in last chance foster care.
Taking Jack to her grandfather’s farm where he becomes involved with animals is a beautiful story. Due to the author’s own experience, we, the readers, are shown what can be done to help disturbed children. It makes for a very special story. Throw in the struggle farmers have with big mining companies and there is real conflict that highlights what these people have to deal with. It’s a real eye-opener.
I can highly recommend this to anyone who likes to read about rural Australia and some real issues for those in the bush. On the upside is the magic of a country setting, its space and animals and sense of community.
Reviewed by Rosalie
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All ARRA members who leave a comment will go in the draw to win the book. The giveaway closes on 6 October 2013. (This giveaway is now closed. The winner was Suzi Love.)